Can you hack it? Week one at a national rag with an ostomy


If I ever see a glass of wine again it will be too soon. I’m not cut out for drinking, but in the past five days I’ve possibly consumed enough alcohol to make even the most hardened of drinkers weep. I’ve finally realised I can’t drink. And to say I’ve learned the hard way would be an understatement.

I simply can’t hack national newsroom drinking. I don’t know why I thought I might be able to either.

Perhaps I’m allergic to alcohol – like plasters, lactose and ibuprofen. In reality I got a little too excited by the fact there is even a bar anywhere near the office, not just a B&Q and Boots.

So far in my time at Mirror HQ I’ve fallen over, drunkenly eaten an avocado wrap (urgh) and had my first ever night time ostomy explosion. I’ve woken up covered in blood (from my fistula), and other horrible illness related problems. I’ve forgotten where I live, lost my purse (potentially pickpocket victim) and been helped home by the lovely Met police after getting hopelessly lost with no money.

I’ve also met truly inspirational women, talented reporters and news editors, got some great advice and had a lot of laughs. I’ve also had chance to get stuck in and write stories I never dreamed I’d get the chance to have a crack at.

No one can claim I haven’t jumped into the experience with both feet, unfortunately I’m starting to feel really quite ill from trying to get to grasp with the fast-paced London lifestyle. I’m excited to be working in a newsroom where people go to the Brits, interview royalty and eat sleep and breathe news. And where you can bump into the CEO in the lift and see the O2 arena and Shard from the most stunning office in the whole of the city.

Today’s massive success of getting a picture byline in a national paper was overshadowed by the realisation I was stuck in a strange city with no bank cards or ID, oh and the fact someone tried to access my email account, suggesting someone actually nicked my purse from my bag and I didn’t drop it. I spent part of the morning wanting to burst into tears in the HSBC.

I’m far from proud of myself, and I’m horrendously humiliated. But I’ve been told I will laugh about it in a few years, unless someone steals my identity after taking my purse – right now I’m not finding it very funny if I’m honest. I guess I feel like I’ve just been part of some sort of initiation ceremony and failed horrendously.

Ok, so I can’t drink like a national hack, and I’m no longer going to try. I’ve finally realised (despite all the warnings and horrific tales I’ve got from nights out) that I don’t get on with alcohol, and recently I’ve found alcohol is having a disastrous effect on me. I seem to get drunk just from the smell of wine, but this week I’ve made things worse for myself by simply not eating before I go to the pub.

I’ve decided, now that I’m stuck in London with no bank cards, ID and a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach called shame, that I’m going to give up drinking for the next six months. I imagine my liver has been shrivelled more in the last five days than in the whole of fresher’s week. It has to recover and I have to face consequences that something even more serious could have happened last night and what I did was very stupid indeed.

Being a national journalist isn’t all about the drinking, they write ground breaking stories too. And I’ve had a taste of how amazing it would be to work for an incredible place like The Mirror full time. I’ve written stories on cancer toxins in food wrappers, artwork being sold for far too much cash and my own personal reaction to news Towie’s Sam has Crohn’s – it’s more than I could have hoped to get put of my trip.

I love it here and would eventually want to become a national reporter, going to court, hopefully on the right side of the dock. But am I ready for this? Until last night I thought I was. Now I seriously doubt it. I have some growing up to do and another massive operation to seriously get myself together and improve my chances of having a fantastic career, one that doesn’t put me on the front page of the company’s own paper, lying in the pavement beaten to death after not saying no to people (kindly) buying me drinks.

I guess it’s better to learn that now before it’s too late. But I hope I’ve not ruined my chances and they don’t regret sending me.

I’ve worked too hard to flush my career down the drain, so from now on I’m flying clear headed. I have to put my health, life and career first and not destroy my reputation. I’m putting in the hours and graft but I feel I’m yet to really prove myself to a company which has treated me so well and given me so much, I can’t bare the idea of letting anyone down.

Next week will be better and I am determined to keep getting bylines and making an impact. I just want to feel proud of what I’ve achieved here, I’ve learned an awful lot but I feel I could do so much more. I’m new to this amazing world and I’ve got to appreciate that it might not be my time yet.

At the end of the day there have to be reporters who are tee total -surely!


9 thoughts on “Can you hack it? Week one at a national rag with an ostomy

  1. I think it’s probably the ostomy that’s causing the bad alcohol reaction. The same happens to me, I can drink a maximum of 3 drinks before I feel ill. I think it’s important to try and balance them with water in between to rehydrate, that’s my theory anyway. Maybe some lovely person will hand in your wallet, hopefully. Lisa 🙂

  2. Don’t get down on yourself – we all screw it up sometimes. Cutting out the alcohol will probably feel better all round, and I hope that your company can see the great work you’re already doing. All the best!

  3. Pingback: Big stoma bucket list – one year gone with a flush | The big stoma bucket list

  4. Pingback: So long 2014 – a year of surgery, loss of my backside, freedom from IBD and amazing adventures | The big stoma bucket list

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